Ghana: Reusing waste plastic to make jewellery & flower pots

Unilever Ghana's factory in Tema supports a recycling initiative that reduces waste and provides income for local people.

Woman making jewelleryTackling plastic waste

Plastic waste is growing in Ghana as sales of products packaged in plastic increases. Unilever's Tema factory sponsored the first national forum on the management of plastic waste in 2000, in collaboration with the Ghana National Packaging Cluster and the International Centre for Sustainable Development. Samples of jewellery made from waste plastic were displayed at the forum.

Helping women's groups

The Centre for the Development of People – a non-governmental organisation based in Kumasi – encourages women's groups and small businesses to collect rigid plastic waste from homes, factories and refuse dumps, and put it to good use. The used plastic is cleaned, melted and coloured then wrapped around straw and cut into pieces to make attractive beads for jewellery. The sale of these products provides much-needed income for the women.

Recycling plastic

In a separate initiative, Unilever Ghana supplied more than 21 tonnes of plastic waste in 2004 to small and medium size recycling businesses in Accra. This waste is made into flower pots and other plastic items, which are sold by people who are otherwise unemployed.

Unilever Ghana is working with industry and government bodies to expand this initiative and help reduce the amount of plastic waste sent to landfill. This will contribute to a cleaner environment in cities and villages by clearing plastic litter, as well as generating employment and providing income for local people.